City says sales tax revenues up, State’s numbers are an ‘approximation’


 Liberty Hill city staff say information regarding the City’s sales tax revenue, which is available on the State Comptroller’s website, does not tell the whole story when compared to actual checks received monthly from the state.

In last week’s edition, The Independent reported information obtained from the Comptroller showing sales tax revenue for the City of Liberty Hill had dropped from March 2011 to March 2012.

When asked to clarify the numbers, Deputy City Secretary Rachel Austin said that payments received by the City refelcted an increase in sales tax revenue during the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year.

“There are many moving parts to these calculations — businesses paying late, being audited, asking for audits in hopes of getting refunds from the state, paying to the wrong jurisdiction, etc., so sometimes figures can reflect many months of corrections, and quoting numbers/percentages is at best an approximation,” she said.

While the City received the payment in April, the revenue was generated by purchases made in Liberty Hill in February.

Mrs. Austin further explained that  in April 2011, the Comptroller reported audit collections of $61,178 — “an unusually high audit amount. Without the audit collections, the net payment would have been $31,271.71, therfore tax remitted to the city in April 2012 increased 39.32 percent over the current period collections for the same period in 2011.”

The Comptroller reported on the agency’s website that Liberty Hill saw a 53 percent decrease in revenues during that time period and experienced a 7.14 percent drop for the first three months of the year compared to the first quarter of 2011.

Mrs. Austin provided documents showing different figures.

“Tax remitted to the City in January 2012 was up approximately 11.68 percent over January 2011; February 2012 up 43.23 percent and March up 44.78 percent,” she said.